Formatted at 800 X 600- or higher .created March 2002. Updated May 2012 .
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Greenham Common Peace Camp
The Free Festivals
and the saga of the
1981-1982. Part 2.
Tibetan Ukranian Mountain Troupe Bus at Greenham 82
Greenham Common 1982 © Janet Thomson
and consternation .
Outside the base ,with the buses , vans and campers and microbuses ,station wagons and cars of the peace Convoy filling the highway as far as the eye could see in both directions , a token force of a few officers and two wagons stood at the head of the main driveway to the site - a few feet in front of a deep trench dug across the drive by relays of determined lawmen working all night long.
What they weren't prepared for was the sheer mass of the convoy filling the highway in both directions - making it impossible for the cops to move around . Eventually one group from the convoy entered via a back entrance unknown to the police whilst the rest swelled around the police and their paddy wagons , pushing them gently to one side. Crowd rearranges rocks and dirt , outnumbered bobbies retreat for fight another day and the site is occupied.
the base a meeting of top brass broke up in consternation . Aides
ran about frantically, telephones started ringing in London ,
Washington , Moscow ( Soviet TV flew in a whole crew who went
round filming the event ).
Attila the stockbroker at Greenham 81 © Big Steve
The cruise missiles are due in 83, Construction work has already started . And just ten miles up the narrow country lanes is the Aldermaston Weapons research Establishment - in the sixties , the focus of the massive CND ( Ca,mpaign for Nuclear disarmament , ban the bomb movement - still at work , developing and producing atomic and more recently chemical and biological weapons . Since the 60s Aldermaston has collected around it large quantities of extremely toxic nuclear wastes which are so dangerous over such long periods of time ( 25, 000 years ) that no one has been able to find a way of disposing of them .
Its had a bad accident record . By international agreement only a certain quota of waste can be dumped in the sea every year., Aldermaston alone produces more than the British quota for sea dumping , so they stockpile the rest. So far 13 Aldermaston workers are on record as suffering from plutonium contamination and four have died of cancer. They have got away with all of this for years despite CND, exposes by the Liberal press, despite every form of protest and just weeks before Greenham occupation news leaked out of a billion dollar plus expansion of Aldermaston, to design and develop the nest generation of nuclear weapons after Trident . They are already preparing the production of nuclear weapons for the 90s.
Greenham Common 1982- doing PR for Blue Moon Festival © Janet Thomson
Big Steve,who was present at Stonehenge, puts the festival and convoy into context
photo © Convoy Steve.
82 was an incredible experience.
I was at the main stage (at Stonehenge ) doing the PR MC bit when someone asked me if I could drive their bus for them to Greenham -can´t remember why but I did and followed the long line of trucks buses leaving the site. We arrived at the base and followed the back route beside the fence to the site. Nearly getting stuck in a gully once or twice. Once there we got together the stage in the Tibetans tent though we erected the pyramid.
My biggest problem was persons unknown cutting the cables to the generator on various occasions hence the sudden power cuts and not the idiot stage crew forgetting to fill the genny with fuel leading to bleeding the genny to get us up and running again. I do remember walking around site with Rat Scabies of the Damned impressing a few of the convoy surprised to see a pop star on site at Greenham. Also of note band wise I brought Dreamcycle Seven to play as well as Solstice and convoy band Red Ice and of course the amazing Tibetan Wystic Mankers.
Punks Greenham 1981 © Justin Warman
The sweat lodge on site was amazing and we bathed naked in the little stream beside the base much to the amusement of American servicemen passing in their jeeps. I remember wandering into rainbow Paul and Annie Tibet very early one morning to join them in an improvised jam in front of a large section of the perimeter fence that had been pulled down in a direct action protest. The security guard was pretty freaked as Paul sang his twisted freedom peace song.
Nik Turner and friends inside TUMT bus Greenham 1982 © Janet Thompson
Later that morning the police arrived in large numbers in riot gear and everyone sat in a huge circle in front of the pyramid as the police seemed to pick out indiscriminately various members of the convoy. Out of a beautiful double decker bus the sounds of " Theme from a Teenage Opera" could be heard,
' Grocer Jack Grocer Jack is it true what Mummy said you won´t come back 82 brings many fears '...............
Uncanny (see newsletter 7 for 12 year old Justines view) At least we got rid of the cruise missiles and felt the blessings of the peace bringers and some funny universal sanity.
Greenham Common 1982 © Janet Thomson
Convoy Steve also adds his two happence worth
newsletters brings back plenty of memories
Here's an extract from a song that I wrote during those times
"Oh my dogs have all died
and I've gone yeller
I used to be a big strapping feller
Now beans and chapati's
have put me in nappies
I'll never eat free food again".
I certainly remember the "Knocking down the fence party" - me and Gyp spent half of the night winding the American troops up who were on security detail by popping up all along the perimeter fence and shouting "Boo!" we kept them busy for hours.
Because of this, unknown to us, several brave individuals cut through a quiet part of the fence and created havoc inside the base - pouring paint into the fuel tanks of lots of large machinery and doing all kinds of sabbo stuff.
In the morning the whole site turned out and took down hundreds of yards of the fence, lots of it with 3 blows from a sledge hammer, and a few of us put a P.A on the back of les'o's K9 flatbed and drove up and down the fence snipping wire to music as we went - I remember Rainbow Ron dancing on the remains of the fence and singing one of his inspired freedom songs !."
© Al Stokes
© Al Stokes
© Al Stokes
Greenham Free Press and allied documents
click on the thumbnail to see larger ( readable ) versions of the news letters. Number 1 is a flyer for the 1981 Festival Of Life .
Greenham Common festivals and the Peace Convoy 1982-83
Travellers Tales how the freaks outsmarted the fuzz at Greenham common.